Monday, June 06, 2011

Crossing Over

Bono enters the dark realm.

U2's Bono is what we would call a philanthropist. He has made his fortune and has, as a result, made efforts to steer the windfall of that fortune onto those who have not been as successful.

His charities are many but perhaps his best known is his work in Africa. Not only has Bono given millions to those on that continent, but he has teamed with others (even twisted a few arms) to maximize the financial efforts in toto.

Private giving and giving through taxation to the poor are two completely different things. One is divine, the other is a tragedy on multiple levels.

First of all, private charities are exponentially more efficient than are governmental agencies. Many private charities can (humbly) boast that over three quarters of the money that they collect is given directly to the cause. Government, by the time it has sucked out enough money to cover overpaid and inefficient bureaucracy, can brag about its contribution of about thirty percent.

Many conservatives lament what unending charity does to unquenchable recipients. I am of like mind. But, the most sinister thing about government benevolence is the long term impact it has on would be private givers.

With inefficient government taking on the role of wealth redistributor it has effectively allowed would be charitable givers to abdicate their moral responsibilities toward taking care of others. (Of course, with government taxation taking an ever larger bite out of earners' salaries there is substantially less money left over to give of freely, even if a person wanted to.)

Many a person depends on government to take care of others, and as long as they are taxpayers (never mind that about fifty percent of Americans pay no income taxes at all,) they feel that they have done their duty. Fail.

Which brings me back to Bono.

A tax protest group from Art Uncut will attend U2's performance on June 24 to campaign against the group's "convoluted" tax affairs, accusing them of avoiding taxes which could have helped exactly the sort of people Bono publicly cares about so dearly.

U2 moved a portion of their business affairs from Ireland to the Netherlands in 2006, reportedly in order to avoid a limit on lucrative tax breaks for artists in the republic.

The protest group have said that they do not intend to interrupt the band's performance, but hope to make sure their message is visible.

They plan to float a large bundle of cash from one section of the crowd under an Irish flag to another section under a Dutch flag. The message "Bono Pay Up" will be spelt (sic) out in lights.

An Art Uncut spokesperson said: "Bono claims to care about the developing world, but U2 greedily indulges in the very kind of tax avoidance which is crippling the poor nations of this world."
How many people has Bono employed? How many people have benefited from the charity of his free giving? How many others have been made aware of the plight of others through his many causes?

The cretin protesters would rather have government do their duty for them. It matters little to them that a quarter given privately does as much for the recipient as does a dollar taken forcibly from the pockets of the productive to be redistributed.

It is difficult to know who the protesters are, but I would hazard a guess that a good many of them work for government sponsored charities and therefore depend on Bono's taxes to grant them a paycheck.

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